With a wide variety of options to choose from, including top-mount, bottom-mount, side-by-side, compact and built-in refrigerators, you'll have no trouble finding one that combines the right capacity, features and look you want. Replacing an old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model may also help you reduce your energy consumption and lower monthly utility bills.
Freestanding Counter-depth Refrigerators
Freestanding counter-depth refrigerators have finished sides and do not need to be secured or fastened.
- Has less depth than most freestanding units but generally wider to compensate for space
- Less expensive than a built-in but offers a similar sleek contour design
Built-in Counter-depth Refrigerators
Built-in counter-depth refrigerators have unfinished sides and an evaporator mounted at the top. Due to the top-heavy nature of this design, built-in refrigerators need to be secured to the surrounding cabinetry and wall. They are constructed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry rather than being installed as a separate unit.
- Seamlessly integrates with kitchen décor
- Custom-made panels provide stylish options
- Typically 84" in height (incl. the evaporator), with width ranging from 36"–48"
Refrigerators are available in a wide range of capacities, from compact units with around 3 cu. ft. of space to large, family-sized units that feature upwards of 30 cu. ft. In a two-person household, you will need at least 10 cu. ft. of space, excluding freezer storage. In larger households, a good rule of thumb is to add 1.5 cu. ft. of refrigeration space for each additional person. If you dine out frequently, you may be able to purchase a smaller unit. Overall, 21 cu. ft. of refrigeration/freezer space should suffice for an average-sized family.
- Empty refrigerators operate with less efficiency than fully stocked units
- If you frequently entertain guests, look for a unit with greater storage capacity
- Consider adding a second refrigerator in your garage or basement if you need a great deal of extra space
The primary means of storing food in your refrigerator are bins, shelves, drawers and baskets. If you like to keep large amounts of milk or juice on hand, look for door bins capable of holding gallon-sized containers.
Many refrigerators have wire shelves, which allow spills to fall through and splatter items below. For easy cleanup and spill control, look for units with spill-proof glass shelves. Adjustable shelving allows you to move them up and down to create space for large dishes while wine racks, snack trays and lift-out baskets in the freezer provide other organizational options.
If you tend to purchase a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, look for produce drawers with humidity controls. Different fruits and vegetables require different amounts of humidity to remain crisp, and these drawers offer the ability to set levels depending on what you're storing.
- Bins with adjustable heights can accommodate a wider range of food and beverage containers
- Sliding shelves make it easier to reach items placed toward the back of the refrigerator
- Deli trays allow you to store large platters of meats, cheeses and hors d'oeuvres
- Built-in beverage holders keep canned or bottled beverages neat, orderly and easily accessible
While storage capacity, efficiency and features are probably the most important aspects to consider, dont overlook style. Your refrigerator will likely last for a number of years, so its important to select a model that will fit in with your changing tastes and continue to look great over time. Stainless-steel finishes provide one way to keep your refrigerator looking great for years, though they may cost a little bit extra initially. Built-in units let you customize your kitchen's appearance while contoured doors and handles offer a sleek, sophisticated element.
- Common colours to choose from include stainless steel, bisque, black and white
- Trim kits allow you to give freestanding units the appearance of a built-in refrigerator
- Some materials used to create refrigerators are not magnetic, so bear that in mind if you often keep menus, to-do lists and other important items on the fridge